Friday, December 23, 2011

the eve of the Eve

I'm enjoying a Sluggard's Christmas. Oh the shame of my sloth. Today, two presents were hand-delivered to my door; I will give these dear friends a present back sometime in 2012. Cards pour in, and I will reply ... sometime in 2012. Last week, every time the television was on, I kept one eye on it while decorating the tree, stuffing stockings and wrapping gifts. Now the twinkly tree is floating above boxes and bags, almost every single one of which contains something second-hand. Thoughtful, I hope, but second-hand. YAY!

Because I heard an interview Jian did with the author of a book called "To Die For," about the immoral slavery involved in the fast fashion industry. So that's why those clothes are so cheap. I'm glad they're not under our tree.

It's all done. Yesterday Wayson drove me to buy a huge load of groceries and even to pick up the turkey, which usually has to be heaved onto my back. Today, I did the final grocery and wine shop and wrapped the last gifts. I'm sure tomorrow I'll remember something, but so far ... everything is in readiness, even a can of turkey and giblets cat food for You Know Who. And that's all she gets, the ungrateful wretch.

I'm a lucky self-employed and single person, able to do all this on the off-hours. Pity the poor souls who have to hit the malls and grocery stores tomorrow. The pungent man today in No Frills, pretty close to homeless, I'd say, buying three small boxes of chocolates. Never have I felt so fortunate, with so many folks feeling the pinch of recession. And today, though sunny, it was very cold. Hunkering down time.

Yesterday's thrill - my mother had given me a box of my grandfather's 16 millimetre home movies, and last week I finally took them to be transferred to DVD. Yesterday, I brought the DVD home to watch. So marvellous - my father and his brother in Central Park in 1928, my dad six and Edgar three, then various summer vacations as the boys get bigger, other relatives dancing in and out of the frames, my dad so handsome and vigorous. Then a big leap through the Forties to 1952, there's my beautiful young mother, aged 29, and Moi, aged two, at Lawrencetown Beach in Nova Scotia, my grandmother weeping with laughter. And then, 1955, my baby brother appears, and finally, from 1960, a little segment I did for CBC television, talking about the show Razzle-Dazzle. A family treasure to share with my kids on Xmas Day, with another copy to send to Ottawa for the folks there.

On Tuesday my oldest friend Ron had an an open house in the chichi apartment he shares with his partner Gary, for friends to meet his daughter and her husband and two-year old twin girls. I brought them a gift - "I Know Here," Laurel Croza's beautiful, prize-winning book that was inspired by an assignment in a writing class she took with me. It's aimed at kids much older than two, and yet at one point, in the chaos, Ron sat with little blonde Emily on his knee, reading her the book, both of them engrossed. What a lovely sight.

Speaking of lovely sights - my daughter has posted her latest ultrasound picture on Facebook. This babe is four months old in utero and already has a Facebook page. I watched an extraordinary documentary the other night called "What Darwin didn't know," about thrilling new advances in DNA research and genetics; they showed how to a certain point, all embryos - humans, chickens, frogs - look more or less the same. But ours now looks like a real human baby. I thought of my father, a physiologist and geneticist, who would have been overjoyed at what is happening in science now, and even more so at the advent of a great-grandson, bearing his genes into the future.

This might be our last Xmas without a brand new small person in attendance, who'll remind us of what it's really about. I'll be rushing about buying Lego and assembling castles or trains. Back to the old busy Christmasses.

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